Question 123 of 365: How much are we inspired by comfort?

Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory
Image via Wikipedia

So, I’m blogging from an iPad. I’m that guy. I’m sitting here with my bluetooth wireless keyboard resting on my lap, looking over at the gorgeous screen being propped up with the new super-durable case I got today. All of this is so new that I really have no frame of reference, but if this particular moment is any indication, I think it is the most comfortable I have ever been while writing.

I don’t have the heavy laptop weighing me down. I don’t have to worry about the battery giving out. I don’t even have to care whether or not I’m misspelling things because the autocorrect on this thing is ridiculous.

Not only does this make me an incredible nerd, it also makes me so pampered that I feel guilty about it. While my tech lust for this item and the productivity that I knew it would represent is nothing compared to the feeling that I know I am incredibly lucky to be able to spend money on such a device that is so inessential.

And it makes me wonder whether or not I will be as inspired to create worthwhile stories while I sit so comfortably. It makes me wonder if “having” really will make me passionate to want more for myself and for others.

I was always really put off by the last line of Gene Wilder‘s version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. In the movie, he Willie Wonka says, “Do you know what happened to the boy who got everything he always wanted… He lived happily ever after.” (Or, at least that is how I remember it.) Even as Charlie, Grandpa Joe and Willie Wonka himself are lifted high above the city in the Wonkavator, I think that this appeals to our need to “win” at the end of the day. It doesn’t reflect just how important the daily struggle is. And, it certainly doesn’t allow for any thinking time to consider just how much the act of “wanting” can lead to the act of creation.

If Wonka is about creating new and amazing concoctions, he should be promoting that for his young apprentice. He should be telling Charlie to continue to dream because now that he has reached his goal of caring for his family, he can have new goals and new wishes to start progressing toward.

This is not to say, that I feel as though I have everything that I have always wanted by sitting here on my couch and typing away at a quarter-inch thick keyboard. It isn’t to say that by simply being able to touch my browser I no longer want anything else to change. There is a lot that is still missing from the experience (I just tried to figure out how to attach a screenshot to an e-mail and couldn’t). I just know that I am comfortable now, that I don’t have to worry about anything else coming in and distracting me (mostly because the iPad doesn’t do multi-tasking yet).

I live in a comfortable world. I eat food every day. I shower with clean water. I have a filter in my refrigerator that makes pure ice cubes. My children have toys to play with and their own rooms. I sleep on a mattress and not the floor. I am privileged, and I know it.

What good can come of this? Isn’t having an iPad and these ridiculous accessories just another way to show off a technological elitism? Isn’t it a way to focus all of the attention on materialism and comfort instead of the real problems that other people are having? It is all just an academic exercise.

I’m sure after a few days, it will be like I always had these tools. I will start to think about a fictitious equity for them. My access will become a perceived access for all. It will happen because it always happens.

Web 2.0 isn’t ubiquitous. It is just prevalent.

Smart phones aren’t changing the world. They are just changing their users.

Social networks are making us more comfortable with sharing information than we have ever been before, and so we do it without even thinking. The value of an anecdote, a picture, or a home movie has gone down so drastically that there really isn’t anything that we say or share now that can’t be said or shared from the comfort of “everywhere.”

While I am not going to be giving up my iPad after 2 days with it, I feel like I might try to make this comfort different. Perhaps, this is the kind of comfort that I will be able to share. My wife is going to Kansas City this weekend to visit her sick mother.

Perhaps, she could use some comfort.

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0 Comments

  1. jacquelinecahill

    I look forward to hearing more about your experiences with your ipad. I'm debating on buying one this summer…will have to make choices amongst a few items in the running. It is one on the research list and then the decision list if it gets to that point. I am glad you are grounded and realize how fortunate you are…so important. Mostly though, I'm sorry to hear about your mother-in-law…hope your wife is doing okay.

  2. Thanks for your support.

    The iPad has been a great experience for me over the last week, and I think
    that I will be using it for more and more in the coming months. It is
    definitely my tool of choice for pretty much everything except for intense
    multi-tasking. I highly recommend it.

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